Happy almost Spring! Or happy 3rd winter! I don’t know which greeting to use. This time of year is so unpredictable. I’ll choose to focus on the fact that if spring isn’t quite here yet, it’s on its way!!!
I love this time of year. It feels refreshing to me. And I love all the plants that begin to grow and beautify our community. And of course, summer is right around the corner. I look forward to the change of seasons. It makes me reflect on how things are always changing in our lives. Sometimes they are good changes and sometimes they are hard.
Of course in our line of work we are helping to facilitate change in others. This is not always easy to do. Working with children can make this process challenging and complicated. I recently had a teenage client that I was seeing great changes occurring in my office. But at home she was finding it difficult to sustain the strides she was making.
I was reminded again how important it is to include parents in our work. They are every bit as important to the change process as individual therapy with a child. This teen was being pulled back into patterns at home that at times made it very difficult for her to change. My goal then became to focus on not only supporting her but supporting mom and dad in making some adjustments in the way they viewed their daughter and interacted with her.
If you don’t routinely include parents in your work, I would encourage you to reflect on what is keeping you from including this important piece. I admit that as a budding play therapist straight out of school I found parents intimidating. I could talk to and work with kids all day long. But I struggled to know what to do and say to parents. When I made some changes in my approach and began including parents more in the process, I saw how it enhanced my individual work with kids.
There is no “one way” to include parents. I always have a parent check in for the first 5 to 10 mins of a session. Then about once a month or so I meet with just the parents to work on parenting tips for their particular situation and child.
I recently heard this quote: “Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” Consider adding parents more into the therapeutic process. It will make a difference.